Zapatista tour in Michoacan, Morelos

The Zapatista “Other Campaign” continues to advance through central Mexico, with recent stops emphasizing peasant ecological struggles. In Campos, Colima state, Delegate Zero (Subcommander Marcos) and other Zapatista leaders met with fishermen at Cuyutlán lagoon, whose livelihood is falling victim to environmental damage caused by the port’s thermoelectric plant. (La Jornada, April 1) In Michoacan, they met with Purepecha indigenous campesinos defending the local Lake Zirahuen from the real estate and tourism development that is encroaching from the nearby bigger Lake Patzcuaro. (La Jornada, April 5) Emulating the Zapatista rebel zones in Chiapas, the Purepecha have established a “Caracol in Rebellion of Lake Zirahuen.” (Narco News, April 4) In Morelia, Michoacan’s capital, Marcos called for a new “national force” to combat the neoliberal capitalist program, and affirmed that indigenous peoples are critical to “the possibility to build a different reality for our nation” because they have “another relation with nature.” (La Jornada, April 3) The Other Campaign has just arrived in Ocotepec, Morelos, heartland of the original Zapatista insurgency (La Jornada, April 8)

In a sign that President Vicente Fox is taking the new focus on indigenous issues seriously, his government has redrawn its congressional districts to try to increase the number of Indian lawmakers in the nation. Xochitl Galvez, indigenous affairs adviser to President Fox, said that when the July 2 presidential and congressional elections are held, there will be around 28 new districts with an indigenous majority.

About 13 million of Mexico’s 103 million people are indigenous. There are currently only three Indian federal congressional representatives in the 500-seat lower house and no Indian senators.

Galvez, an Otomi, said the redrawing of districts, worked out with the Federal Electoral Institute, will guarantee better representation. “The party that chooses Indian candidates will have the best chance of winning, because the voters will identify with the candidates more,” Galvez said. (El Universal, April 4)

All sources from the Chiapas95 archive.

See our last posts on Mexico and the Zapatista tour.